Crown The Empire

The Fallout

Written by: TL on 20/01/2013 16:15:12

One sure sign that the world overall is moving on from the 'post-hardcore' scene that was so trendy just five years ago, is that if you aren't paying attention, it looks like almost nothing is going on in the genre these days. It is not quite so - In fact you can find an awful lot of dramatically named small bands by hopping related videos on youtube, but not without quickly realising that there's good reason none of them are at the forefront of media attention at the moment. One exception however, is Texas-based Crown The Empire, who were picked up by Rise Records on the back of just an early EP, and have since had their name put out there so much that they've been pretty hard to avoid.

While it's only sensible to be skeptical of new Rise Records signees these days, Crown The Empire's first album "The Fallout" does actually cast the band as slightly more than just the typical assembly-line 'scene-core' band of today. Make no mistake though, the basic formula is intact, with low-end, beat-down oriented riffage borrowed from nu-metal dominating verse sections across the album, while the choruses predictably scramble to give each song individuality via melodic chord patterns and clean vocals. Par for the course indeed. What stands out about Crown The Empire (sadly) is that the transitions and interplay between the heavy and the melodic is actually quite well done for a young band, meaning you're not as likely to sit around facepalming at one-string chugging or lazy drop-offs between two parts.

Still, with those merits in place these guys would still be an entirely average band in the genre, if it weren't for the theatrical twist lent to the sound via sampled pianos and strings that are very reminiscent of In Fear And Faith, and the flamboyantly delivered clean vocals of singer Andy Leo, who comes off like a younger version of Alesana's Shawn Milke. These contributions coat the band with a wash of 'theatre-core' which is likely the exact shade of character that made Rise see potential in them to begin with.

As for "The Fallout", it is every bit the state of the art production you would anticipate, with everything being so squeaky clean in the mix that it will sound like nails on a chalk-board to traditional metal and hardcore fans, while the younger consuming segment will likely be enchanted by the poppy gloss. It comes across somewhat calculated, and frankly the same goes for the songs, which lack individuality down the stretch of the album's overall uniformity. After an opening half which shows promising technicality, dynamicity and decently catchy choruses in songs like "The Fallout", "Makeshift Chemistry" and especially "The One You Feed", the latter half increasingly relies om gimmickery, with coherency going more or less out the window when penultimate "Children Of Love" ends super serious rallying roars of "We are the noise of generation NOW!" only to give way to circus-like accordion and cries for "Blood! Blood! Blood!" in closer "Johnny's Revenge".

My overall impression listening to "The Fallout" then, is that it feels like an album on which the band and their new label have rushed a bit to strike while their deal was hot - The consequence being that a good deal of the material feels somewhat forced, and hence anyone approaching this record with a bit of skepticism are only smart to do so. I get the feeling though, from the better melodies and the harder rocking bits, that Crown The Empire - despite their annoyingly generic name - have the potential to one day become more than samey chugtasticness and pseudo-catchy choruses. They're not entirely out of those waters on here though, and I do think it's going to take some stubborn ambition for them to get there in the future.


Download: The One You Feed, Makeshift Chemistry, The Fallout,
For The Fans Of: Alesana, In Fear And Faith, We Came As Romans,

Release Date 20.11.2012
Rise Records

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